introducing miss blanks: the brisbane rapper here to empower the trans community
She’s part of the new generation of Australian rappers reclaiming hip hop as a political weapon, a megaphone amplifying racial and gender diversity.
Miss Blanks feels like something of a saviour, an urgently needed presence in Australia's music industry. Her sharp-witted rhymes celebrate her "wet pussy" and uninhibited sexual demands, fearlessly taking a bazooka approach in pulverising the stale narratives of Australia's predominantly white-straight-male hip hop community.
She's part of the new generation of Australian rappers reclaiming hip hop as a political weapon, a megaphone amplifying racial and gender diversity. The Brisbane artist gives us hope that the days of white boys rapping about snags, beers and festivals are over, as she takes the industry by the horns and proudly brings visibility to the bodies and voices of transgender people and women of colour.
We had a chat with Miss Blanks about sexual empowerment through music, problems within Australia's hip hop community and giving audiences a space to reclaim their voices and bodies.
Who is Miss Blanks and what's the best thing about her?
Miss Blanks is an enigma. I'm an enigma, but we're the same person. I think for a while now, people would see me — or at least the physical representation of me — but not really see me or get me. I'm very provocative, disruptive, unapologetic (sometimes to my detriment) and raw. I love those things about Miss Blanks/me; but people like to police my actions, thoughts and voice — it's really muzzling.
For so long, women of colour, especially trans women of colour, have been seen as an inconvenience and for the first time in Australian music I get to be highly visible. I get to say what I wanna say in my music, and reclaim my voice, sensuality, femininity, body, mind, energy - everything that is me/Miss Blanks. I think that's the best thing about being Miss Blanks.
Your lyrics are assertive, sexually explicit and tongue-in-cheek. How do you unlock this level of confidence when writing?
Thanks — but to be honest, I'm just writing about my experiences and where I'm at in life. If I want to rap about demanding a guy make me come first and it fits the song, I'll do it, or even if that's what I need to get off of my chest at the time of writing, then I'll do it. I'm just very fluid with my movements when it comes to the songwriting process.
I also get so confused that we're in 2017 and people support, protect and uplift artists — male rappers — in Australia that blatantly put down women in their music, but it's somehow rebellious for a woman to stand proud and reclaim her body, power and femininity through her music.
What sort of push backs have you experienced when it comes to expressing that so called 'rebellion' in your music?
I've had people 'suggest' I be a bit more tame with my look, my lyrical content and message. It's like they're telling me not to have a voice — which is dumb because then it wouldn't be authentic. I've had lots of people tell me my music wouldn't make mainstream radio, which it has. People have also judged my rap ability because my content isn't relatable or consumable to the Australian crowds, which is like saying people in Australia don't like to shake their ass, party, have sex, and chill with their friends. Y'all clearly haven't met my friends.
There are so many sexually empowering female rappers like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and Princes Nokia overseas — why do you think Australia hasn't seen someone like this breakthrough ?
I think it comes down to so many things but more importantly, Australia's mainstream hip hop music landscape is relaxed, white, male-focused, and straight as fuck — which can be cute, love me a straight boy. Music consumers have been brought up on this kind of sound and these kind of artists and this kind of culture for a while now, so they're use to it. Change is confronting and when something is confronting, people tend to resist and react negatively. However, I don't plan on going anywhere, so be prepared to be confronted because I got some boss femme tracks comin' at ya and an army of boss-women behind me. It's about to be the matriarchy takeover in 2017!
How does Miss Blanks measure her success?
This is an interesting question for me because my idea of success is a little simple, lol. When you're like me, have gone through struggle, seen real struggle and you work your ass off, you tend to appreciate every little triumph. On a personal note, even something as simple as being able to walk down the street without being harassed is a success. My main goal is to give people music where they can connect and realise they too, have the authority over their own selves to reclaim their own power, body and voice. Being able to create a sustainable career from music would be nice also. I guess success for me is overrated. I just want there to be substance and depth to what I'm doing and for people to engage and enjoy it as much as I do.
Have you had a recent interaction with a fan that made you feel like this was accomplished?
Yeah, totally! Best moment I've had with a fan was recently. I performed in Brisbane and [a fan] came up to me and mentioned how they came all the way from the Sunshine Coast just to see my set. They said that they had sex to my song, Drop it Low, and needed to see me in my element!
Speaking of fans, you were telling me earlier that you wanted the fans as much as you wanted the haters, why do you think they are both relevant towards your goals?
It's not so much as 'I want fans' but more a 'I want my music to reach people that need my music' and not for the promotion of Miss Blanks/me but for people to feel empowered and for them to know that they are valid and appreciated. As for haters, I enjoy seeing what these people have to say. Like, why has your experience been so negative when engaging with my music? I don't plan on changing it for you but I think it's an interesting space for me to navigate - if and when I choose to navigate that negative area. I also enjoy being petty and clapping back at these people (Mwuahaha)!!
Miss Blanks will be opening for Princess Nokia on March 3rd at The TBC Club, Brisbane.
Text Triana Hernandez
Photography Jonno Revanche